While the faltering economy is causing many to fret about keeping their jobs, there are a handful of Huntsman students who don’t seem to be paying attention to the news. They are convinced that if there are layoffs, they’ll be the last ones affected.
That’s because, even though these students haven’t graduated, they’ve already launched their own businesses. And while, some of them work two jobs, when it comes to their own businesses, they answer only to themselves.
Nate Bradshaw, a senior majoring in entrepreneurship and Adam Brown, a junior majoring in entrepreneurship, look over some shirts made by their company, Sentimental Clothing.
Nate Bradshaw is a senior majoring in entrepreneurship, who markets his own apparel line called “Sentimental Clothing,” and who has his own screen-printing business. He runs the ventures with Adam Brown, a junior who is majoring in entrepreneurship.
Bradshaw, and the others interviewed, said they see opportunities in today’s challenging economic times.
“There are always going to be hard times, and I don’t want to sound like I don’t feel for the people who have lost their jobs, because that is definitely not my point,” Bradshaw said. “My point is that there are always opportunities and entrepreneurs are the ones who look at the mess and find the opportunities that have presented themselves.”
Matt Weese, a senior majoring in entrepreneurship, runs his own lawn care business.
“With the economy being down, we are driven to go out and create new ways to be successful in our own businesses or find new opportunities,” said Weese. “Even though the economy is faltering, there are still opportunities out there. Seeing these opportunities is what makes times like these both interesting and exciting. Whether the economy is good or bad, it's a constant challenge to find ways to succeed.”
Jake Actkinson, a junior in entrepreneurship, designs clothing and decals for his company Pure Harmony Clothing. He’s having his shirts printed by Bradshaw, someone he met in an entrepreneurship class. He found a concise way to sum up a basic principle that seems to drive all of the students who were interviewed.
“If you see an opportunity, you’ve got to take it,” he said.
That seemed to be a common philosophy among the Huntsman students who were interviewed and it was clear each entrepreneur would be constantly on the lookout for new opportunities. Dan Holland teaches the fundamentals of entrepreneurship and likes to see his students do more than talk.
“While many of the businesses students start while in school may not be considered high-growth opportunities, a large part of entrepreneurship is action and I am always excited to see students act entrepreneurially,” he said. “Their experiences prepare them to obtain greater value in the classroom and ultimately prepare them for a higher level of success in future new ventures.”
Taking advantage of opportunities, however, often isn’t easy. Brandon Kartchner, a senior majoring in entrepreneurship and business administration, purchased a tanning and hair salon called The Rage, with his wife, Shantai. At the time
“I didn’t sleep much for three or four months, but you just have to make it work,” he said.
With so much on their plates, these entrepreneurial students said their interest in the Huntsman School of Business goes way beyond getting good grades and a diploma. They are intent on seizing the value from everything offered in the classroom.
Justin Harding, a senior majoring in entrepreneurship, teamed up with Brandon Kartchner to start Logan Deals. The company has developed a list of thousands of people who welcome a daily text message about a good deal being offered by a local merchant. He said when he goes to class, he wants to make sure what he is learning can be put to use in his business.
“I’m sitting there in class and I’m thinking about my business and I’m wondering, ‘How can I apply this right now?’” he said. “And I walk out of class and, seriously, two hours later, I’m changing something about my business because of what I learned in class.”
Harding and others interviewed said their motivation to stay in class is driven more by the knowledge they are after than the grade they will receive.
“I’m there because I think the professor has something valuable to offer, otherwise I would leave because I consider my time very valuable,” Harding said.
All the students interviewed had taken Dr. Holland’s class, the fundamentals of entrepreneurship, and said the class offered them valuable insight about how to be successful.
“I believe in the entrepreneurship program the school has,” Bradshaw said. “I believe in the next 10 years, it’s going to be a top-tier entrepreneurial school in the western